AUGUST 21, 2014
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Richard White's latest book, Railroaded, is new, incisive history of the transcontinental railroads and how they transformed America in the decades after the Civil War.

The transcontinental railroads of the late nineteenth century were the first corporate behemoths. Their attempts to generate profits from proliferating debt sparked devastating panics in the U.S. economy. Their dependence on public largess drew them into the corridors of power, initiating new forms of corruption. Their operations rearranged space and time, and remade the landscape of the West. As wheel and rail, car and coal, they opened new worlds of work and ways of life. Their discriminatory rates sparked broad opposition and a new antimonopoly politics.

With characteristic originality, range, and authority, Richard White shows the transcontinentals to be pivotal actors in the making of modern America. But the triumphal myths of the golden spike, robber barons larger than life, and an innovative capitalism all die here. Instead we have a new vision of the Gilded Age, often darkly funny, that shows history to be rooted in failure as well as success.

The Spatial History Project team is currently collaborating with Open Sourcery to develop a complementary website that will include an interactive footnote browser, visualizations, and supporting data. Please click here to be notified when the site has been fully launched.
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Tracing Railroad Directors, 1872-1894
Seeing Space in Terms of Track Length and Cost of Shipping
Patterns of Change in Railroad Company Board Members, 1872-1894
Distribution of Union Pacific Stockholders by City (1869)
Distribution of Union Pacific Stockholders by City (1869)
Cattle Production in the American West, 1867-1935

Spatial History